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i am not steven clemons. diameter of the editorial page at los angeles times. [applause] belmar still in los angeles? i was called at the last moment. one of the people who dropped out because tonight is the night of the white house correspondents' dinner and it turned out i had a panel of journalists talking about obama at the white house correspondent. , will start by doing something a little bit mean. i will turn to something garrett graff wrote a few years ago. and have absolutely no idea what this is going to be. >> nothing terribly
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embarrassing. to remind us what we were thinking when president obama was elected and i will introduce my fellow panelists and ask questions. back in 2006 garrett graff wrote the following. a few short years ago he wrote no one heard of the skinny chicago senator and constitutional law professor with the big ears and a funny name. now all bets are off. obama just might be willing to be the next president of the united states. it would be the capstone of an amazing rise for a politician whose charisma and personal story. the harvard educated has breezed life into the democratic party. at the heart of obama is his personality and presence. part preacher and professor and part movie star. his charisma seems effortless, his charm and afterthought. who is that guy? he certainly got it. he describes obama as the third african-american since reconstruction to serve in the
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senate. he delivered the keynote address at the 2004 national convention and won a grammy for the audio version of his memoir and he said he need look no farther than his desk in the senate chamber to be reminded of the last politician who embody the hopes of a generation, designed by its previous occupant including bobby kennedy. with that here we are today. conservatives, as we all know as late as last week, conservatives are questioning whether he was born, the degree to which progressives who are to some degree overrepresented on this panel are disappointed because obama -- [laughter] -- hasn't turned out to be the president we expected. the issues are numerous. obama has failed to one degree
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or another to -- i am sorry? [inaudible] >> the president has -- the antidote to george w. bush. he failed to undo the bush national security and failed to put guantanamo and taken up the issue of deficits in favor of the issue of jobs. many of the progressive criticisms. i hope today we can have a serious discussion about whether progressive are justified in their disappointment in obama and how much of this is obama's fault and how much is the fault of republicans and how much is the fault of the filibuster and if obama is right when he says let us not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. are turn it over to garrett graff, editor of washington
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magazine. his first book was the first campaign:globalization, the web and the race for the white house which examines the world of technology in the 2008 campaign. the second book is just coming out called the threat matrix, the fbi's war in the age of global terror. why don't you open it? [applause] >> as be fitting my seat on the stage, i started off in politics working on howard dean's presidential campaign and i think represent the far right wing of the panel today. the first two years of obama in a lot of ways gives true to the old political saying that one campaigns in poetry and governs in froze. the thing that obama have
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learned in many hard way is over the last two years is governing is a lot harder than talking about governing. and as much as we like to think closing guantanamo would be an easy thing to do it turns out for all sorts of reasons only some of which are related to the republican party it is not. that is a subject i spent a lot of time working on in the last two years as i have been researching this book on the fbi so i followed a lot more of obama's national security plans and strategies and evolutions then i have the other issues that katrina vanden heuvel and eric alterman will talk about. the world with a complicated place and we have seen obama repeatedly buffeted by global
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events outside of his control coming in when he did with the financial crisis in the last couple weeks the unrest in the arab world and the earthquake in japan. one of the challenges that has become clear is how little a precedence the is up to a president. much of what happens during a president's term is about reacting to events rather than creating the events as we might have wanted him to. what i think -- and i will pass it down the road here -- what concerns me more than where obama is or where the republican party is is i think we are entering an era in politics where the thing that concerns me
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the most is we are no longer serious about serving the big problems. that was the subject of my first book in 2007 looking ahead to the 2008 presidential race. the big issues in education and health care and energy and the environment and jobs and so on and i think you can see that playing out in washington as we talk about the budget. this budget debate in so many ways has become about paul ryan and his plan and his thinking about the budget but the idea that we as a nation can all agree there is one guy in washington talking seriously about the budget is an indictment of everyone else in congress who is not. we are at the point where you want to talk about the budget, there is one guy taking this
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seriously. he is the one who is thinking about the budget problem. these are huge issues. generational issues that have to be solved one way or another and the fact that there's not a larger debate that involves more people on both sides of the aisle is a stunning indictment of where we are in the political process. >> thank you. i think the debate in this country -- >> maybe i should introduce -- >> don't waste your time. i am editor and publisher of the nation. >> the lady needs no introduction. >> i am eager -- [talking over each other] >> i don't have a book. i just have a magazine that i added. there are fundamental debate in this country but the disconnect between the debate in washington and what is going on in the
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country is radically disconnected as we have seen in decades and that is the problem of what obama has to address. let me step back a minute. i met president obama wants. the only thing he said to me was to remind me -- [inaudible] -- very important historian has said the lesson is not so much unhappy with barack obama -- i want to make the case that president obama in his first two years -- they were landmark pieces of legislation. the health care legislation and financial reform legislation. they were not commensurate with the scale of the problems this country faced. part of that was a failure of leadership but also the systemic
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structural problems that have made our system dysfunctional or not serving people because this is what eric's book is about. the power of money in the system, the power of lobbyists. the power of those forces to dilute legislation and the republican party that admitted openly its main task was to destroy president obama. and the health care bill, my memory tells me with the first piece of social legislation in the last 50 years which passed without a single republican vote. that said, that is important. i also think the recovery was diluted because of republican pressure and the timidity of many democrats. and the failure of the message that this was the recovery -- recovery program allowed too much of the media, this doesn't
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serve the people, to conflate that program with a bailout of the banks which led to the emergence of a right-wing populist movement and anger, justified anger that the recovery was not sufficient. the scale of the economic crisis. and as we see today president obama because of the diluted piece of financial reform legislation resuscitated but did not restructure the financial -- the financial sector so that the banks are more powerful than ever, do not serve the people, they remain masters of the universe and that is dangerous, unprecedented amount will continue to allow that power to dominate our society. one of the central mistakes president obama made was
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demobilizing those who supported him. it is not just progressives. it was a fairly broad based coalition of young people, single women, obamakins, conservative with a conscience. if he is a pragmatic president you want the wind at your back, that people power which is the only thing sufficient to character those forces of the establishment power. that is the history of our transformational change, when you have the ability of movement from below to pressure presidents whether it is abraham lincoln at our pulitzer prize winning editorial member writes in his book those abolitionists who helped found the nation pushed president lincoln beyond the limits of his own politics but that is not what we are seeing now because the demobilization debate, not small
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but remember president obama spoke in a spirit -- team of rivals. he didn't bring in a team of rivals. he did not have that voice. president clinton's administration, robert rights should not have much power and hasn't found a great voice he has now. there was another voice fighting to insure the voices of people and those majority polls show in the country believe the real crisis is not a deficit crisis but a jobs crisis. that hasn't been well represented inside the corridor's hall of power. afghanistan, if we listen to president obama during the campaign and are said progressive need to be as tough and pragmatic about president obama as he is about us. he spoke about afghanistan as a good work and he needed to show because of the national security state gregoire politics till we
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find a way to end that the president remained captive to that. he had to show he was tough. i think what is going on is you have the ability on a number of core issues, one of them is afghanistan, corporate power is another, transpartisan majority who want a way out of afghanistan, believe corporate power is strong in this country and a president with leadership could seize that and find a way to build politics around that. thinking of president johnson, wars kill reform presidencies. and president obama, he is a reform, too ltd. but in these areas he is a reform president. it is imperative for citizens, progress of, citizens of conscience to organize more independently and find ways to drive those issues into the next
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election but more generally build coalitions that will give space to those progressive politicians in our system working with people to make the changes we need. we are seeing that even as someone told me the story that we're rolling back collective bargaining but the spirit of madison, wisconsin, even though there are losses -- the change in this country, the attempt to rollback the events of the 20th-century is something that has crystallized attention and made people wake up. we are seeing it in town halls around the country and we will see more of it. not just paul ryan but broadbased what people understood to be the fundamental pillars of this society. that is what president obama and citizens working with progress of the inside the elected halls of this country can make change.
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[applause] >> may i briefly introduce you? >> briefly. >> very briefly. eric is professor of english and journalism from the graduate school of journalism and author of many books, 10 or 12 at this point. the latest one according to what i was able to find is the system versus barack obama. that is it. that is the intro. >> nick was worried that this panel would be insufficiently controversial between the panelists so i will do what i can about that. first i am going to have a short argument with myself and then i will have a little argument with garrett graff and try to
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implicate nixon somehow. >> katrina vanden heuvel pays the salaries so she escapes any controversy from eric. >> a high figure. i feel kind of like -- i see the audience is about my age or older so i can say civil without too much explanation. in my own head i have four competing arguments about obama that i am not complete the short, depends on the day. four seats occupied in terms of my work. one is what katrina vanden heuvel mentioned. he had me over for dinner five years ago when he was a common senator and i have never been so impressed with a politician in
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my life. i was so moved by this new generation of black leaders of and hoped my daughter who turned 13 might vote for this man for president. i didn't even know at the time his middle name was hussain. it seemed a miracle that he is president years later. i have a lot of trouble imagining anyone even today who could the president of the united states who is as smart and committed to their values and worldview. we have some fundamental disagreements but that was 2005. bush got reelected somehow. is incredible. i like the guy a lot. i am sure a lot of you were crying that night. that is part one. part to is this morning i was writing the obama chapter of a
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book i have been working on for eight years which is a history of postwar american liberalism which will be out next year called the cause. liberalism is a lot more marginal than we like to think it is. franklin roosevelt came to power in an extraordinary situation. lyndon johnson came to power in an extraordinary situation. it is not easy to find liberal moments between those two times when the country agree on the gold and was willing to move forward and make progress in the way we would define progress. it is a tougher hall than most people who hold these values so in that respect, significant that teddy roosevelt proposed national health insurance in 1912 and every democratic president since harry truman has
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tried to pass that and barack obama passed it. there are a lot of weaknesses to it but it is not nothing. the first two years of his presidency was the most consequential democratic presidency in 50 years. it is not chopped liver. i don't like chopped liver. that is point ii. that point lead to the argument i make in my book which i will be signing after this panel. which is about the system and the system is -- what i call the system which have a lot of components. part of it is the filibuster in the hold and part is the legacy of the most corrupt, incompetent and ideologically upset presidency of the last 150 years. we -- what this world needs is a good comparison between the
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buchanan presidency and the bush presidency to decide if he is the worst president ever. there was so much to be done if you just look at the way we were set up to handle the oil spill, no one heard of the m m s. the only reason they were in the newspapers before the oil spill is people were dealing crystal meth out of the office of the am am s in exchange for sex. there's not a single newspaper in america that was covering them. when something happens which you need government for the government is not there. you saw it in katrina and the regulation of financial industry. you saw it in baghdad when we invaded a country where we had no plan. millions of people were displaced. hundred of thousands were killed. millions of dollars were wasted. because the government -- had no respect for governing. eight years of that is a lot of
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legacy the obama administration had to deal with. two problems i won't focus on -- being a progressive president almost impossible to they are power of money which is more powerful that it was two years ago and plenty powerful two years ago. frankly it the bank's own the place. talking about the senate. the power of the conservative media to distort and make impossible a sensible discussion of our problems. when you have a difficult issue like health care bill or cap and trade legislation you end up discussing whether or not you want to kill your own grandma. is that a good idea? will the government come to your house and the rest you if you put your thermostat over 72. i know you don't have a problem here but we have it in new york. you have a great deal of sympathy for a guy trying to talk sense to the american people, to treat us like adults
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and make difficult tradeoffs in a context where there is no respect for that kind of thing. where he has to go after being asked about it by george stephanopoulos on good morning america. he has to show his birth certificate because the majority of republicans don't believe he was born in this country. it is difficult to govern in that context. on the other hand another project on have been working on is a series of columns that i might expand into a short book on what are called a conservative class war. for the past 40 years a group of wealthy conservatives joined by religious conservatives and now joined by lots of people with other kind of grievances that have fallen into the movement though not as many as the media would have us believe have launched an attack on a roll the government plays for the middle
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class. first they created their own media institutions and intellectual institutions to replace the previous establishment. then they went after the tax code so the wealthiest 1% in the country have more than double the amount of wealth they own relative to everybody else. 8% of our assets to 20% of our assets. in the past 30 years the top 1% have enjoyed 20% of the gains in this economy. the top-10% in joint 60% of the gains. if you read paul pearson and jacob after's book there have been global development on this kind of thing but to the rest of the world this is not the case. only in america do we have this degree of inequality. the next phase of the class war is what you see in wisconsin which is the attack on public unions to stand up for working
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people of corporations having power in the system, the only people who can oppose them are public unions so they are going after public unions. obama refuses to recognize this fact. he have all this why don't we get along stuff, why can't we be friends. the fact is we can't. if one side is fighting a war and the other side has their hands tied behind their back that side will do really well. we see that in the notion in washington that the only person talking about sensible governance is paul ryan. he is not talking about sensible government in washington. he is talking about what the conservative media pretences sensible government. the fact is if you take his own numbers, using this as an example take paul ryan's own
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numbers he does nothing about the deficit for the ten years. the deficit stays on the same course it is on but it destroys medicare and gives a tax break to the wealthy. increases the tax break for the wealthy that they already have and destroys medicare, one of the key components of social welfare. i am not an economist but paul krugman has a nobel prize in economics and he says the only serious attack on the long-term entitlement budget deficit is these progressive budgets. is that what it is called? people budget. he says the only serious one is the people's budget. i will take his word for it. think about the fact that in washington you have this notion that only paul ryan is serious.
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he destroys medicare to give more money to the wealthy who have had the best 40 years in the history of this country. that is what obama doesn't want to recognize. obama's budget is worse than the simpson bowles budget which takes $3 out of spending for every $1 it raises in revenue. that is the democratic petition. obama's is worse than that. this conservative aura has created this notion that to be serious you have to attack 4 people and and rich rich people. that to me is the problem. [applause] >> i wasn't necessarily endorsing paul ryan's budget in my earlier comments. [talking over each other] >> are you trying to get this guy lynched? >> this is what happened to me last time was the only person
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who didn't get tremendous applause on the panel in los angeles. [applause] >> what i meant more on paul ryan is we sort of used for paul ryan or whatever your issue as shorthand for starting the debate because there is, particularly in washington, a sense that there is not serious thinking about these big issues. we are so focused on the day to day politics, cable news winning the day, winning the battle, winning the short term that these big problems are coming down the pike and we are not working on them. when one person does begin to do that as paul ryan is with the budget we end up the faltering
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-- defaulting to letting him win that debate. there is an interesting divide in the way we are talking about this that you have a republican congressman and the president of the united states debating this back and forth with almost no one else in the picture. >> the people's budget as a serious budget put forward by members of the progressive caucus 83 strong and what was striking about it is the nation made its lead editorial, paul krugman the column about it but not just fox news and eric writes about this. dana milbank in the washington post wrote one of the snarky as columns i have seen in many years in which he said the slogan the people's budget conveyed an unhelpful association with the people's republic of china and other socialist undertakings.
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you have immediately marginalized possibility of millions of people taking a serious budget about a robust social safety net, taxes for the rich, financial transaction tax and cuts in the defense budget, all popular majority positions get marginalized in what passes for debate inside washington. and paul ryan becomes the prints because his views are court. what is interesting to me is they worked well inside washington with the republican elite, taken on the road. you're seeing not just progressives but people say what? did take away my medicare and my children's? one overarching problem is the role of government and what is striking, i was looking at this the other day. there was a 2010 survey by correll political scientist.
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40% of those surveyed did not know medicare with a government program. it is so embedded in people's experience which explains the tea party, keep government hands off my medicare. >> let me change the subject. i want to ask about libya. on the one hand it is unbelievable to me this president of all presidents in the aftermath of the bush administration managed to embroil us in a new work before completing the two wars we are currently involved in. on the other hand this is a different kind of war. is being waged in the name of multilateralism, in the name of humanitarianism and protecting citizens. is this a war we should support? is it a war at all?
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>> libya is fascinating. i think it is the most dangerous war the united states has ever been involved in. what you are beginning to see in libya is thanks to technology the ability of the united states to go to war without putting any american lives at risk, that we can launch tomahawk missiles and sent in credited rhones. involves no boots on the ground. when you look at what keeps a nation from going to work it is the sense that you have to put blood and treasure on the line. you have to send americans into harm's way. if we are able to go to war without putting any blood in the process, not that we should be
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sending americans to be killed in libya. i am not endorsing that either, but in my mind what is dangerous about libya is the advances in technology have made it possible for us to go to war without risking anything. >> how is that different from kosovo? not a single american died in kosovo. >> but we had troops actively engaged. >> entirely an air war. >> we are not using airplanes in libya right now. >> they don't have anti-aircraft guns. we went to war and nobody died. how is it any different? >> what is different is we did have to commit. there was a chance we were going to lose american lives. and we did put troops on the ground as part of the peacekeeping force in kosovo and
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what worries me about libya is there is no reason not to go to work if all we are putting on the ground is treasure. >> katrina, you go ahead. >> the issue of drones in foreign policy is a dangerous policy because president obama has used and deploy it drones the 192 times. he has escalated it. bush did not use drones. the larger framework is we are seeing expanding of the national security state. there is little marginal attempt to cut the defense budget which shouldn't be dismissed because it is an opening to look at that hard. but it is the expansion -- i don't love the word but the empire. bases grow and you have africa, nato is an american instrument.
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should have been abolished after the cold war. instead we are embroiled not just in libya which is very dangerous on a number of grounds because it violated the u.n. security resolution almost immediately. i am for the u n. i think that resolution was an important one. but it has the potential to diminish and attack and threaten the un and changes the narrative in these extraordinary events where you have a sense of people making their own history and the west is back in their, the overarching thing in my mind which president obama may not have had the courage to do for a variety of reasons, there is always fear of another attack and what that means politically in this country is another 9/11 but to make the case we must end this war on terror, this is not a war. what should have happened after 9/11 is a response of policeing and intelligence and not putting
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ground troops in countries. even secretary of defense gates at west point said any adviser who advised a president to put troops in two land wars should have his head examine the. >> this is a sacrilegious thing to say. i don't know everything. so i don't really know if libya will turn out to be a good idea or bad idea but we should have gone to congress and got in a congressional resolution. that i am sure about. but the thing is high am told if we hadn't done this there would have been massacred by an evil man a lot of nice people. it is not that simple just to say i am against work. work exists for a reason. it is not a good response. this would have been a massacre.
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there would have been a massacre of honest people we could prevent. isn't that what power is for? that doesn't mean it will turn out to be the right decision over time. i don't know that they have a good plan but i know they are not evil people. are due no -- samantha power is someone i respect and understand the law of the danger here and i feel the same way about barack obama. i would have made a different decision about afghanistan. i would have gone with joe biden's plan but i don't know everything and they know things i don't know. the fact is the choice is not between war and peace. it is between war and massacres in many cases and i am hopeful this will prevent a massacre and prevent war at the same time. it is anti intellectual and bears a moral -- to act as if you know that one evil is better
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than another. it is impossible to know that. [applause] >> not that i have anything against masturbation. >> one final question and we will have been in up to the audience. looking forward to 2012 with the possibility of a takeover of all three branches of government by the republicans. can democrats afford to squabble? is this a time to close the reins and support the president? how much fighting can progressives have over the next couple years? >> i wouldn't use the word fighting. what you do is you work to draw issues into the political debate such as it is.
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on afghanistan jim mcgoverned from massachusetts and a good congressman from north carolina, walter jones travelling into primary states to raise the issue of afghanistan. you do it to give space to issues, not to tackle president obama but to pick this up. we are trying to change what we believe is a policy that is undermining your possibilities as a reform president. we work hard to progress -- elect more progressive people. i am not for primary. it is a destructive possibility in 2012 that you work to elect as many progressives in to congress and state legislature. so much of the action right now in order to prevent the assault and stop the conservative class war is that the state level. a lot of attention needs to be paid -- i think president obama
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has been given a gift with paul ryan's budget and with the republican field that is looking like the scene in star wars at the bar. >> they are releasing the bluray -- democrats in hollywood release star wars before the election. >> i would echo what katrina is saying with the added point that i think obama has a relatively reelection -- relatively easy reelection ahead of him between the powers of the presidency as an incumbent, an enormous sum of money he will have, he is going to have most observers agree a billion dollar war chest and the amount of tv and staff and
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volunteer organization is pretty massive. in addition to the simple fact the demographics are on the side of the democratic party over the next generation. young people continue to vote heavily for democrats and the minority population of the united states which is disproportionately democratic is growing and expanding and at least in the short term if those people vote it becomes a very easy election for obama. the question is if those people end up voting. >> that is a bigger problem. i am not so sure obama is going to get reelected. the unemployment is not going down any more.
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the fed is not in a mindset to stimulate the economy any further. hasn't been concerned about jobs in the first place. the problem of japan and its supply lines has not shown up yet but it will answer all the dipping portion of -- housing prices are collapsing again now that those programs are gone. depends on can the republicans nominate someone who strikes the rest of the country as sane? i am saying that seriously. it is not clear that they can. even people who are used to acting crazy for the purpose of getting the nomination. i don't mean newt gingrich. he was always crazy. but tim pawlenty if you watch him when he was on john stuart he struck me as a very nice fellow and perfectly reasonable guy and now he is a a lot of
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crazy stuff. the question is will they come back on that? what seems to be happening is they are setting up mitch daniels to be their guide. he will strike everyone as saying he has done what he needs to keep the party together and will be a very tough opponent. as far as the demographics, i think minorities and young people will be the hardest people to turned out after the disappointments between 2008, and 2012. a lot of people -- george bush was so horrible, the idea of selecting an african-american named barack obama it was amazing we can forgive ourselves whatever illusions we had. i certainly forgive myself. the fact is the greatest criticism i would make of obama,
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i wrote a whole book called the system versus barack obama. we have to fight the change in the system. there is a quote in my book i lifted from david redneck's book from one of obama's pfizer's -- advisers when he was a state senator running for first state senate office and this other guy says you know, you have to learn when you can't get the whole policy you need to take the ham sandwich. and obama is taking every ham sandwich he can get but there's no ham in those ham sandwiches. not even a powerful closure ham. let them eat bacon or not. but forget about closure bacon. we need to get more ham in those
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sandwiches. young people and minorities have not gotten much am in their sandwich at all. they got a big sandwich of nothing. they won't be there in the same numbers at all. i have this theory that the night obama won the election in 2008 was the night he appeared with rick warren who put his arms around him and said i don't agree with everything he says but he is all right. if you look at the numbers in 2008 what changed was the republicans stayed home because they didn't think he was the antichrist. now they think he is the antichrist again so they will turn out and it is not clear that obama's base will turn out and will be a much tougher election which is why all the more crazy people like ralph nader and alexander cockburn are
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advocating for somebody to challenge him as an independent or with the democratic party. that is how incumbents lose. they lose because they are challenged from within. that is how jimmy carter was challenged by ted kennedy and lyndon johnson was challenged and beaten. the easiest way to lose an incumbent president the is to fight 2001. even if i disagree with obama and thought he was terrible i would be against challenging him. building for 2016. >> we open it up for questions from the audience. you can ask about the presidency or eric's dietary restrictions. >> how do you assess -- [inaudible] [inaudible]
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>> i can do that. i could do part of it. israel and american jews are one of 5 big issues of what they'll lot of attention to it. obama blew it in the middle east. a very long question. how would one ss obama's feelings with benjamin netanyahu and what can we expect from the hamas agreement? i don't know about egypt. he blew it with regard to the middle east because he started
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out bold, met a little resistance and ran away and you didn't see him again. he gave a great speech in egypt, the symbolism was great. the speech itself was great. it spoke of a new day. he had the beginnings of a new movement that would give him the space to take a much tougher position against the government that most american jews opposed which is not interested in peace because if there were a peace agreement with government would fall. it is antithetical to its interests and he got some push back from the organized jewish community in the united states and the benjamin netanyahu government and he walked away and said it won't be a cakewalk so i will try to do something else and the benjamin netanyahu government showed they don't have to make any concessions. the republican congress will be on their side.
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90% of the american jewish community will be on his side even though majority of americans are not. similar problem to our own democracy and the power of money in this outdated mind set. what happened if i can transition to the hamas thing, the palestinian authority said this is not happening. the only way for this to happen is if the united states is willing to put real pressure on the israeli government to force difficult concessions and stepped up to the plate. they won't do that. benjamin netanyahu denounced this agreement and said that hamas has to choose between peace with israel and peace with hamas. fact is you choose peace with israel, you got nothing.
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you have more settlements. by the way the whole situation was made worse by the bush administration's attempt to manipulate the first palestinian elections and overthrow that government. elliott abrams was appointed on that. there was a coup directed by the united states. what you see in between hamas and photog is rejection of the american role and possibility of a peace agreement anytime soon. it may turn out that is a good thing. maybe having peace with palestinians is not really peace and the other half has the possibility to undermine that peace if they are not included. there is nothing israel needs more than real peace. you need to make it with a real government that includes photog and hamas but it won't happen any time soon so it will be a matter of crisis management
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between now and then and crisis management is difficult when you have an organized establishment demanding that you be 110% is really -- israeli. in the long run we will all be dead but in the medium term this might be a good thing but it will be painful. >> there is a guy with a microphone over here. >> thank you for coming. on wednesday when we woke up we heard the announcement about the birth certificate and there was a collective cry of outrage across america in the black community when president obama presented his birth certificate.
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i was wondering why would he do it? i guarantee you no black person in america would have wanted him to present at birth certificate. however, i believe -- i would like to hear your opinion -- it was not because of donald trump or glen beck or any of the crazies on a right that he presented that birth certificate but was actually because of the liberal left progressives who would come to me and say why won't he just released his birth certificate and it would take me 235 years to explain why he should not. >> we don't have 235 years here. >> my point is this. as someone mentioned the minorities and young people are so profoundly disappointed in the last two years but it is not just with obama.
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i believe it is also with the progressives because there were progressives saying that. if he can't get progressives to stand-up he is in trouble. thank you. [applause] >> to be fair there are crazy black people too. alan keyes says it is for jury and he is black. there are crazy black people and crazy white people. >> his audience for the birth certificate was neither the left nor right but the moderate. it was a way for him to use the presidential elector and quite literally in the white house to raise the issue of the not serious debate in american politics. the fact that we are still talking about this two years later shows all of the other things we are not talking about
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that actually matter. >> i don't know any progressives who demanded he showed a certificate but i take to heart there is a danger in your question about progressive criticism of president obama. president obama has lashed out at progressives who have criticized him but there's a misunderstanding of the relationship between those outside who support his presidency but want to push him be on the limits of what some believe are constricted politics and there is a support in that as opposed to those on the right who want to destroy his presidency but i sense when i tweet something critical of president obama's policy there is a wave of anger from a range of people. look at the policies eric spoke
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about the job crisis. the rates of unemployment among african-americans and latinos have soared and in the support for president obama there is a kind of cultural identity support but in terms of the objective fact it seems people should be agitating for a jobs policy in this country that will bring it all. it is a crisis and the new normal should not be 9%. [applause] >> a woman away in the back on the left. >> thank you for being here. what i am concerned about is you see people who are mostly over
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30 -- that is generous. i am a high school teacher and i know my students didn't even know who was running and they didn't even know during the primaries and they didn't care. i look at the me and it is so limited and to get actual information out there, we are political advocate junkies but the rest of the country isn't and what they hear is sensationalism and celebrities. they don't know anything about politics. power is it we are going to get them involved in politics and then to have access? >> two things are happening in the media simultaneously right now. one is i don't have to say this in this town, the shrinkage of
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genuine news coverage. maybe 40% of journalists and editors as they were five years ago and they have to do twice as much. the columbia journalism review with the journal on the wheel. you have to do video chats and walk people's pets and stuff and there's no time to find stuff out and report. that is one crisis. the second crisis is what obama was talking about with this carnival barking stuff that is combined with right wing bias, tied -- tabloid mentality. they don't want to hear this. the kids are leaving. the kids are not all right. on the right, which you saw in the treatment of the birth certificate issue and whether he
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is a muslim and even the antichrist. because the right is so financially successful, fox news is very profitable it seeps into the mainstream me and the mainstream media -- is a obama muslim? let's talk about it, what are the two sides? is obama trying to turn this country into an islamic republic? i did read a story that said what inspired obama to show his birth certificate was being asked by george stephanopoulos on good morning america of the day before or two days before and the media are not only losing people but losing self-confidence and they are not able to decide what their job is any more so they look at this carnival barking side, glen beck and bill o'reilly and rush limbaugh and they have a lot of confidence but don't care what is true. they don't care at all.
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fox news shows when they want to attack -- when fox news reports on the wisconsin protests they can't find any violence though they show a california protest with palm trees in wisconsin in the winter time on fox news. i could give you hundred examples. what we need is the media to report global warming -- that global warming is man-made. that obama was born in the united states. that there are significant problems that have to be addressed but the media are in a position because of the simultaneous factors which is an act of bravery to report that. [applause] >> we don't have time for any more questions. thank you

Book TV
CSPAN July 18, 2011 7:00am-8:00am EDT

2011 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books Education. (2011) Eric Alterman; Garrett Graff; Katrina Vanden Heuvel ('Obama Two Years In.')

TOPIC FREQUENCY Paul Ryan 11, Washington 11, Libya 9, United States 8, Afghanistan 6, Us 6, America 6, Garrett Graff 4, Benjamin Netanyahu 4, Barack Obama 4, Kosovo 3, Wisconsin 3, Israel 3, Los Angeles 3, Paul Krugman 2, Lyndon Johnson 2, George Stephanopoulos 2, Obama 2, Katrina Vanden Heuvel 2, Egypt 2
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Duration 01:00:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
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Tuner Channel 100 (651 MHz)
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Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 704
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Sponsor Internet Archive
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on 7/18/2011